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Thread: Does anyone have a c.1890 treadle?

  1. #1
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Does anyone have a c.1890 treadle?

    Hi

    I'm looking at a couple of treadle machines that (coincidentally) are both around this age and am just wondering what to look for...

    One is a Minnesota Noorwood class treadle with a 4 drawer table (the drawers are mismatched though - 2 are the same and 2 are different) and the other is a re-badged Eldredge "Improved" model B treadle with a really distinctive badge on the machine as well as the irons.

    I can find info on the Minnesota machine but not the other one. However, I LOVE the quirkiness of the irons in particular on the other one. I'm not sure if I'm correct in presuming there won't be much difference in the sewing quality of the machines if they're both manufactured around the same time in the same country?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts - and about your highlights (or regrets) in terms of owning/using a machine of this era.

    TIA!

  2. #2
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Boy howdy is there a difference!

    I primarily collect 19th century only and I currently have 5 treadles from 1890 and earlier (Singer, Wheeler & Wilson #8 & #12, Willcox & Gibbs, Howe) and three just the heads (White, New Home, and another Singer)

    They sew very differently. The Wheeler & Wilson 8 is the smoothest running of mine, followed by the Singer, then the Willcox and Gibbs (which is the smoothest stitching), the Howe really shows that it was one of the earliest designs. My daughter says it sounds like a train...

    EVERY one of them had thread in the treadle mechanisms. Even the ones that ran smooth and I thought were clear.
    Once you remove the foreign crud, grease it, and adjust the slack they run really nice.

    Another point is that there is even a difference in operation between two of the same machine. I have two of the W&W #8's and they sew differently even using the same treadle base. I believe this is due to the handcraft nature and constant mid model "improvements" that they went through during this development era.

  3. #3
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
    Another point is that there is even a difference in operation between two of the same machine. I have two of the W&W #8's and they sew differently even using the same treadle base. I believe this is due to the handcraft nature and constant mid model "improvements" that they went through during this development era.
    Wow, that's fascinating Steve. I can definitely appreciate how the handmade or hand-adjusted quality would make a huge amount of difference. Just yesterday I was tiling with my dad and we were both doing exactly the same thing... but you could see the difference in sections where I worked compared to where he worked even though it was same tiles, same spacers, same method.

    I'll definitely keep that in mind about the thread and then I suppose if I have the opportunity to try them both out thoroughly I will, except that the distances are not very convenient, unfortunately. I'm a bit put off by the mismatched drawers on the Standard machine. Maybe I should keep an eye out for a Willcox & Gibbs!

  4. #4
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    remember that the Willcox & Gibbs is a chainstitcher not a lockstitcher. It is usually assumed to be for decorative stitching, but the research I have read indicates that the specific type of chainstitch done by the W&G is a "twisted chainstitch" which is supposed to hold better than a traditional lockstitch.

    I have not had time to test it out myself yet

    P.S. As a dad of three daughters I LOVE the fact that you are doing tiling with your dad. All three of my daughters are "girly" but still up for "sweaty work". My middle daughter and I are in the middle of rebuilding the engine on her 1990 Jeep Cherokee this week and next. My youngest does almost ALL of her own car repairs (and jewelry, and sewing, and...) in fact she redid the oil pan on HER Jeep last weekend.
    sarah-wrenching.jpg

  5. #5
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    That's cool Steve! This is me sanding sanding plaster in between tiling jobs... I've got no idea why it's sideways as the original isn't.

    I just need my dad to get into vintage sewing machines! So far he's helped me out by lifting them and lending me his WD40. Oh, and room at his house
    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frudemoo View Post
    I just need my dad to get into vintage sewing machines!
    HAHA! for me it was the first time I was asked to help "unstick" a machine. Going through the process of taking it apart and developing an understanding of the engineering behind them got me really interested. When we were successful and I was asked to do another one but this time it was a much older VS machine, I was hopelessly hooked. Now I like the TS machines even more...

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